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Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson braced themselves for a long-anticipated flurry of questions at the NFL’s annual scouting combine.

Even practice might not have prepared them for Friday.

The two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks found themselves repeatedly talking about their biggest perceived weaknesses – Mayfield’s size and brash personality and Jackson’s future at quarterback. All they need to do now is convince pro scouts they’re worthy of being first-round draft picks in April.

”I’m the most accurate quarterback in this draft for sure Vladimir Sobotka Jersey ,” said Mayfield, last year’s runaway Heisman winner. ”I’m ready to be a franchise guy.”

Perhaps he will be the guy who turns around a struggling franchise, regardless of venue.

After all, Mayfield does possess the gaudy numbers, a multitude of honors and the winning resume pro teams covet in a starting quarterback. Mayfield went 33-6 as Oklahoma’s starter.

What he lacks in size, standing a smidge over 6 feet, Mayfield makes up with a bold confidence and brash personality that ranks second to none.

The combination has occasionally led the blurring of lines between excitable celebration and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Those antics – the planting of the flag at Ohio State, the crotch-grabbing gesture at Kansas and the image of him running onto the field against Texas Tech, his former school, with a T-shirt reading ”traitor” – have some NFL executives wondering how it would resonate in a locker room full of grown men.

Mayfield insists, though, he can change his actions.

”I’m up front and honest, brutally honest,” he said. ”Some people don’t like that because it’s rare these days.”

But it’s not just the on-the-field incidents that worry some.

Mayfield also was involved an embarrassing run-in with law enforcement officers in Arkansas last offseason and endured the humiliation of being stripped of his captain’s title before his last home game at Oklahoma.

Teammates, however, have never wavered in their support.

”It’s just really a perception,” left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. said. ”He’s not the guy you think he is. He’s a captain. He’s a leader. He’s very focused, and he’s going to bring everyone together.”

Jackson finds himself in a vastly different situation.

Despite having equally impressive stats Vladimir Tarasenko Jersey , his own Heisman trophy and playing in an efficient spread offense, the questions about Jackson and former Ohio State star J.T. Barrett are all about fit.

Both were dangerous throwing and running in college, and history suggests the dual-threat quarterbacks either don’t stick around long or stay healthy. Robert Griffin III and Tim Tebow are recent examples, which might explain reports suggesting Jackson will also work out with the receivers on Saturday.

Jackson repeatedly denied it.

”I thought I did a good job at quarterback (at Louisville). I did,” he said. I’m here at the combine to show my ability. It (the talk) is just more motivation and I’m going to show them how good I am.”

While Jackson has the numbers to prove his value at quarterback, Barrett’s numbers suggest something else.

The only three-time captain in Ohio State history played on two Big Ten title teams, a national champion and was chosen the conference quarterback of the year three times. But his inconsistency frustrated fans and have scouts asking questions about his accuracy – and whether he’s capable of being an NFL quarterback.

”I’m here to show 32 teams why they should draft me, and I think I can do that,” Barrett said.

Mayfield has the most to gain or lose here.

If he can sell teams on his personality and that he can play more in the mold of other short quarterbacks such as Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, Mayfield’s stock could soar and might push him into the top five or 10. If not, Mayfield could have a longer wait on draft day.

But nobody here believes more strongly in Mayfield than the Oklahoma quarterback. All you have to do is ask.

”I think if anyone is going to turn that franchise around, it would be me,” Mayfield said when asked about going to the Cleveland Browns, who have No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in April.

As for the height question, Mayfield cited some success stories before finishing: ”If you want to see anything else, I’ve got three years of tape to prove it.”

Notes: More than a month after Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski committed suicide, the Cougars’ departing starter, Luke Falk Alex Killorn Jersey Kids , acknowledged he’s still shaken by the event. ”It’s still just feels unreal. I know the guys up there are really doing a lot of team activities and trying to come together,” Falk said. ”But I don’t think we’ll ever get over it. It’s always going to be with us. Tyler is always going to be with us. Hopefully a lot of good comes from it. Tyler will always be a part of us.”



Fly Eagles Fly.

With the wind and against it.

With Nick Foles engineering several long drives, Jake Elliott converting three field goals, and the defense getting stingy in the tightest spot, Philadelphia moved into the NFC championship game with a 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.

Foles directed brilliant marches of 74 and 80 yards in the second half – one into the whipping wind, the other with it – and Elliott atoned for missing an extra point by converting from 53 yards at the end of the second quarter, 37 and 21 in the second half. Then the Eagles (14-3) held when Atlanta (11-7) got to the 9-yard line with a first down, and to the 2 on fourth down.

When Matt Ryan’s final pass sailed over Julio Jones’ head in the end zone , Philly could celebrate its first playoff victory since the 2008 season.

Next Sunday, the Eagles will host either Minnesota or New Orleans for the conference crown. The Eagles last made the Super Bowl in the 2004 season, losing to New England.

”I mean, we just kept believing in each other,” said Foles, who became the starter when Carson Wentz, a leading MVP contender, injured his knee in December. ”That was it. Our team never wavered, defense did an amazing job, special teams – that’s just been the story this year is that we just all stuck together…”

The Falcons Andrei Vasilevskiy Jersey , of course, memorably blew a 28-3 second-half lead to the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl. They will not get the opportunity to atone for it, though Ryan got them close at the end.

Despite being underdogs as the No. 1 seed, the Eagles showed plenty of moxie.

”Just keep on disrespecting and we’re going to keep proving people wrong,” receiver Alshon Jeffery said.

A masterful 74-yard, 12-play drive on which Foles threw for 70 yards led to Elliott’s 37-yard kick into the wind that made it 12-10. The Eagles then put together their best drive, an 80-yarder covering 14 plays, yet again faltered close to the end zone. Elliott added a 21-yarder with 6:02 remaining after coach Doug Pederson briefly considered going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 3.

”It was tricky out there, really gusty,” Elliott said.

Then, as the fans in the Linc held their breath, the Eagles held deep in their territory.

”Man, just stay calm,” said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who was a force all day. ”We always talk about that. We’ve been in those situations during the regular season, so we kind of know how to handle those situations, not try to make a play but let the play come to us.”

And the road to the Super Bowl remains through Philly.

WINDY DECISIONS

Falcons coach Dan Quinn could have opted to take the wind in the fourth quarter after deferring on the opening coin toss. Instead, he took the ball to start the second half Anton Stralman Jersey , but it was the Eagles who got the only points of the third period.

And in the end, Atlanta had to deal with the currents on that final drive, which did include a 20-yard completion to Jones on fourth-and-6.

”It was a tough game for us tonight,” Quinn said, ”and as we go through, we will go back and assess everything we have done.”

ERROR-FILLED HALF

Mistakes hurt the Eagles in the opening half. Jay Ajayi’s fumble and a misplayed punt that bounced off Bryan Braman led to all 10 Atlanta points.

Things began nicely for Philadelphia when safety Brian Poole was tagged with pass interference on a deep pass by Foles that was held up by the wind. But Ajayi fumbled on the next play with Keanu Neal recovering.

Atlanta efficiently mixed runs and passes to drive to Matt Bryant’s 33-yard field goal for an early lead.

Philadelphia got the run game going with Ajayi in the opening period. Then, with the wind in the next quarter, the Eagles kept the Falcons so off-balance Atlanta took two timeouts in three plays.

Receiver Nelson Agholor’s 21-yard run got the ball to the 3, and Foles botched a handoff to Corey Clement. But the quarterback quickly dived on the loose ball and was ruled to have scored. Replay showed otherwise.

Pederson showed no hesitation going for it, and Blount surged in from the 1. Elliott’s missed extra point left it 6-3.

Soon after came Matt Bosher’s punt that took a wicked bounce and hit Braman while he was blocking. From the Philly 18, the Falcons benefited from two penalties before Ryan scrambled from pressure and found Devonta Freeman for a 6-yard TD and a 10-3 lead.

With 46 seconds left in the half, the hosts got lucky. Foles’ errant pass ricocheted off Neal’s hands to Torrey Smith for 20 yards. Jeffery made a long stretch to haul in another throw with 1 second remaining, and Elliott’s 53-yard field goal just made it over the crossbar.

”It was great for momentum,” Foles said. ”Jake did an awesome job of kicking that for us.”

QB NUMBERS

Foles finished a very efficient outing by going 23 of 30 for 246 yards.

Ryan was 22 of 36 for 210 yards on a difficult day to throw. Jones had nine receptions for 101 yards.

UP NEXT

Philadelphia will host either Minnesota or New Orleans next Sunday night for the NFC title.

Atlanta’s season ends after a wild-card berth and a win at Los Angeles before Saturday’s defeat.



09 lis 2018, 06:53
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